Self-Confidence: Have you mislabelled yourself?

Over the years, I’ve met with many people that come to me for coaching and that tell me that they believe they have problems with self confidence.  For a long time, I listened carefully, and explored with them their thoughts on how they came to this conclusion, where it first manifested, the impact it has on them now, and how they might transition to a happier, more confident place.
But the more I heard this, the more I began to question:

Is it really a case that so very many people have 98-361 problems with self confidence, or is it actually something else?

Moving to classroom sessions on confidence and resilience, I began to ask the question:

“Do you really lack of self-confidence, or is it more accurate to say that “there are occasions where I’d like to feel more self-assured?”

The answer was clear and consistent … “there are occasions where I would like to feel more self-assured”.

As this realisation dawned on participants, and the more we shared it in groups, the more people began to realise that their challenges were more specific, that they were amongst good company, and that overcoming many of these more specific areas felt far more achievable.  The sense of relief was palpable; you could genuinely feel a change in atmosphere as we hit a major reality check for the majority of participants.  Interestingly, when we explored the 98-366 occasions where they would like to feel more self-confident, top topics were typically:

– presenting confidently
– dealing with senior stakeholders
– in meetings with large numbers of people
– talking myself up in interview or performance review

I defy most people not to have ever felt apprehension at some point with these issues during their careers.

From here, I began to share this insight with coaching clients; more than half of all my coaching clients come with some sort of a niggling ”self-confidence” issue, which we explored in the same way, and with the same results.

Does this sound familiar?

The risk if you continue to label yourself this way:  There is a huge risk if you continue to label yourself as having problems with self-confidence, and worse still, you’re at risk of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.  The more you tell yourself that you have confidence problems, the more likely you are to feel exactly that, demonstrating it in what you’re doing and saying.

The opportunity to move forward:  By identifying the specific challenge or context, you become empowered to focus on developing a specific skill … something far more tangible than the overwhelming sense of “how do I fix my confidence?”.

However, this isn’t to trivialise genuine problems with self-confidence, which many individuals struggle with, and if this is genuinely the case, then such people would benefit from more specialist and professional support, but ask yourself that question first to begin to explore the reality of the problem, and beware misdiagnosis!